10/29/2002 12:00AM

Klokstad sends out fresh faces

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - If ESPN's Sportscenter covered Thoroughbred racing at Bay Meadows, they would say trainer Bud Klokstad was "en fuego."

Klokstad has indeed been "on fire" this meet, having won with 11 of his first 26 starters.

Klokstad sends out two more more Thursday - stakes winner Neon Queen in the feature race, a six-furlong, $40,000 optional claimer, and Geardown in a 5 1/2-furlong, $40,000 starter allowance.

Klokstad brought 25 horses with him from Washington, and, as a word of warning, advises, "My good ones haven't run yet."

There is no magic formula to explain Klokstad's success. The horses he has run this year have been placed properly.

"I think that's it," he said. "I have horses that fit for a change.

"I know what kind of races they usually run. This year I came down with horses that fit better in this program."

Klokstad knows that where a trainer places a horse is just as important as training tactics.

"That is the deal," Klokstad said. "No matter how good you train them, if they're not in the right spot, they won't win. It just happens the races down here have come up that way."

Neon Queen hasn't run since finishing second in an allowance race on Aug. 10, and Geardown hasn't raced since he was second in a $50,000 claimer on Sept. 15.

"They've been off a long time," he said. "It may be a little tough, but I need to get a race into them. They could be placed in better spots, but they have to run."

And when a trainer is "en fuego," sometimes any spot can be a good one.

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